Not seeing the conversions you thought you would from your law firm PPC campaign can be frustrating.

You don’t want to put effort and money into something that isn’t working, but you continue to hear messages like Neil Patel’s:

“If you haven’t been using Google Ads pay per click (PPC) ads to drive targeted traffic to your landing pages, you may be doing yourself a disservice.”

These messages don’t tell you how easy it is to get PPC ads wrong.

If you’re not using the right ads network… 

If your messaging is off…  

If your ad isn’t linked to a landing page… 

…your conversions won’t be as you hope.

Below, you’ll learn:

If your PPC ads are failing, there are several reasons why.

According to The State of PPC, a report from Hanapin Marketing (now owned by Brainlabs Digital),  “74% of brands say PPC is a huge driver for their business.” 

PPC ads usually have good conversion rates. So, if you’re not reaping the benefits, something is off with your ads.

Here are some possibilities:

  • You didn’t configure your ads for mobile use as well as desktop use
  • The bidding for the placement of your ad was too low, and now your ad appears further down on the page (those top spots are vital)
  • You didn’t set spend limits in your ads console to control your budget
  • You’re not targeting your audience, or you’re targeting the wrong audience
  • Your ads aren’t relevant
  • Keywords in your ads aren’t tailored to search intent
  • You’ve linked your ad to a home page rather than a landing page
  • You’ve neglected ad extensions

That’s an extensive list of potential reasons your ads aren’t converting, and it still doesn’t cover everything.

The problems listed above, are some of the most common. The first three are pretty self-explanatory, but the others warrant a little more explanation.

Targeting your audience in PPC ads

There are two parts to this.

The first is finding the right people to target with your ads.

One colossal mistake that businesses often make is trying to be there for everyone.

They don’t want to narrow down their target to a smaller group of people because they see it as limiting their potential conversions and growth.

Except to do this, they make their ad vague and try to cast the widest net possible.

Marketing doesn’t work like this.

Ads, along with almost any other tactic in marketing, work better when they’re hyper-focused on one set of people.

Think of it this way.

If you just wrote an epic marketing playbook. Where do you go to sell it? A marketing expo or a book fair?

You’d choose the marketing expo every time because those are the people more likely to buy your marketing book

The same applies to PPC ads.

To target the right people with your ads, you need to know the following:

  • What industry your audience works in
  • What type of jobs your audience work and what their job titles typically are
  • The age range and demographics of your audience
  • Their interests
  • Where your potential clients live

The more detailed you are with your targeting, the more likely you will hit your mark. It’s better to get fewer people to your ad and have more of them convert than it is to have a ton of clicks and no conversions.

If you already know your audience well, then this shouldn’t be a difficult step.

 

But if you don’t, start by interviewing, surveying, or assessing current and past clients. Get to know where they spend their time, what kind of media they consume, their biggest challenges, and where they seek answers.

 

Understanding your audience should be the basis of ALL of your marketing efforts, but it’s handy for PPC ads.

Your ads aren’t relevant to a searcher’s query.

You may think that using the right keywords and setting the proper targeting settings in your ads is enough.

But it’s entirely possible — and even likely if you’re not seeing conversions — that your ads are irrelevant to a searcher.

Here’s an example:

These ads popped up for the search: “free marketing guide.”

Now, it makes complete sense WHY the articles showed up, but they’re entirely irrelevant to the search. I’m not looking for a CMS system — I’m searching for a marketing guide.

The second ad isn’t as far off from the query as the first, but it’s still missing the mark a bit.

When creating PPC ads, you select relevant keywords and fulfill the query’s intent. That’s where you start, at least.

But don’t overlook a negative keywords list. This is, essentially, a list of words you’re telling the ads to ignore.

For instance, say you’re looking for a comprehensive, paid marketing guide rather than a free one.

Put free in your negative keywords list, and the ad won’t show up when someone searches “free marketing guide.” Instead, it’ll only show up for “marketing guide” or other keywords you’ve chosen.

Ads should be relevant to a query. Otherwise, they’re not likely to convert, and you’ve blown your ad spend.

You’re not choosing keywords with search intent.

Search intent is the reasoning behind someone’s search. For a law firm, this is generally that the searcher needs a lawyer.

Whether it be for a car accident, a work injury, a divorce, etc., the searcher’s intent is simply to find a lawyer who fits their needs.

If you are doing marketing for the personal injury practice in Denver, the keywords for your ads might be:

  • Personal injury lawyer in Denver
  • Denver’s best personal injury lawyer
  • Hire a personal injury lawyer
  • Hire a car accident lawyer
  • Workers compensation lawyer

Be as specific as you possibly can. Note that long-tail keyword searches have a click-through rate 3% to 5% higher than generic searches.

Tailor your ads to specific searches.

Use language your potential clients will use when searching for your services.

Linking to a Home Page Instead of a Landing Page

Not linking to a landing page is probably the most prevalent mistake among PPC ads across all industries. Companies will simply send their prospects to their website’s home page instead.

Why does this matter?

You’re trying to get your audience to take one specific action. For a law firm, that’s usually signing up for a consultation.

The best way to do this is to narrow their focus. Provide them only the information they need to make that decision.

But when you send them to your home page, you’re providing them with too many options.

There’s your blog.

Resources page for existing clients.

Information on the multiple locations you serve.

Lawyer profiles for every location.

When there’s too much data, the prospect has too much to digest.

Provide enough information to make the decision, but not so much to be distracting from the call to action. This kind of limitation keeps users on a single track towards conversion.

Not Taking Advantage of Ad Extensions

You can get everything else right on your ads but still not convert, simply because you didn’t take full advantage of features like PPC ad extensions.

What are ad extensions?

Ad extensions are, simply put, extensions of your ad that offer viewers other places to go or additional information.

This might include:

  • Reviews
  • Phone number
  • Links to other pages like an about page
  • Social media links
  • Location selections

Here’s a look:

The “Auto Accidents” and “Contact Us” links are ad extensions, as are the phone number, rating stars, and “Why LegalShield?” link on the ad below.

The best extensions to legal PPC ads are typically phone numbers and rating stars, though this may change depending on your ad objectives.

How to include ad extensions in a legal PPC ad:

Google requires a minimum ads rank score before allowing for any ad extensions.

That score depends on the keywords in play.

But, once you’ve met the threshold, you can add extensions like this.

When tools like these present themselves, use them. They’re giving your audience one more reason to click on your ad.

What Should Law Firm PPC Ads Look Like?

For the most part, all PPC ads look the same. A header with the bolded word “Ad” next to it, a subheader (meta description), a link, phone number, and maybe even links to other web pages on their site.

Unless you’re running a display ad or social media ad, your ads will likely be in this format.

But, if you look at the two ads above, you see that their differences lie in the content.

Wordstream ran an analysis of over 600 PPC ads, and their discoveries hint at the elements that the top PPC ads include.

They found the best calls to action in PPC ads are:

  • Get
  • Buy
  • Shop
  • Try

They noted that not a single top PPC ad used the verb “click” or “click here” as a CTA.

Only “Get” makes sense as a law firm call to action- “Get a free consultation.”

They also discovered that less than 3% of the top-performing ads had a negative connotation, and exclamation points were the most common punctuation.

In other words, if you can’t be a happy, exciting ad, at least be neutral.

Ads with negative connotations simply don’t do as well.

Given this data, it’s safe to say that CTAs like “click here” and negative ads are less effective in any industry. 

How to Set Up PPC Ads for a Law Firm

Google Ads makes it look effortless to set up a PPC ad, but if you don’t take the time to set your ads up correctly, use the right keywords, etc., your ads will fail.

You’ll end up draining your ad budget before seeing any results at all.

So, before getting into the best ad networks for law firms, let’s dive into PPC setup for a moment.

Step 1: Studying your Audience, but also your “ideal client.”

You probably think you know your audience, but you might not. 

Okay, so you’re a personal injury lawyer. You know most of your clients are car crash victims, and because of that, you think your audience is “anyone that gets into a car crash.”

But can you get more specific than that?

Can you describe your ideal client?

No one wants to narrow down their customer base. The notion alone makes businesses uncomfortable.

Narrow your focus to target, and earn the business of your most profitable clients. Specifically, clients that will refer you, leave good reviews, and pay on time.

Don’t aim wide. Aim for the densest pool churning with the kind of fish you want to catch.

How do you find your ideal client?

Assess your current and past clients to discover who your best clients have been.

  • Who has paid their bills on time without hassle?
  • Which cases were my easiest?
  • Which cases took up the least amount of time with the most desirable results?

Once you have an ideal client in mind (a handful of good clients is a better data set) then you can dive into that persona to get to know them a little better.

Don’t miss out on a chance to get to know your audience.

Many law firms (along with every other business) skip this step. They consider industry keywords but forget to look at the people searching for them.

This kind of failure may throw your ads off entirely.

How?

Well, if you’re posting ads on the wrong channel, at the wrong times, and with the wrong words, you’re going to miss your audience completely.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • What your audience is searching for when they’re looking for a lawyer
  • How they’re searching for a lawyer (directories, search engine, google maps, etc.)
  • What times they’re searching
  • Demographics
  • Job title (if there’s a trend in your audience – i.e., truck drivers)

There are quite a few filters for PPC ads that help you narrow targeting to increase the likelihood of conversions and reduce waste in ad spend.

If you’re not taking advantage of that, your ads likely won’t convert as well as they could.

Step 2: Choosing the right keywords

Keywords are absolutely everything to a PPC ad campaign. Without the right keywords, you could burn through thousands of dollars and see little to no return.

To avoid this, you need to know what terms your audience uses when searching for your services.

Now, depending on how often you write content, you might already have a keyword tool such as Ahrefs or Moz.

If not, there are a few free tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest. If you use Google’s Keyword Planner, it’s easier to assimilate your keywords into a Google ads campaign.

For the sake of simplicity, here’s a rundown of how to find keywords using the Keyword Planner from Google.

What makes the keyword planner so great is that it shows you various keywords and related keywords and allows you to store them.

On the left-hand side, you see Saved Keywords and Negative Keywords.

Saving keywords makes it much easier to incorporate them into a campaign. Rather than creating a spreadsheet and uploading it, Google keeps them and imports them into your campaign.

Negative keywords are simply the keywords you don’t want your ads to show up for.

In the example above, the keyword is “lawyer,” but you want to get as specific as possible for your own search

Consider your research into your ideal client.

Did you discover that they’re more likely to use the word “lawyer” instead of “attorney”?

What do your clients call you when speaking with you on the phone, in the office, or in the courtroom?

Region, gender, income level, education level all play into the words that a searcher uses to find you.

To earn more of their business, you have to use your clients’ language.

In the Keyword Planner, type in a specific keyword, search the variations and save 15-20 relevant keywords with a low Cost per Click (CPC).

As you’re deciding on keywords, focus on the “Top of Page Bid” column.

Successful PPC ads are those that appear at the top of a search. To do that, you have to outbid other ads. You may set your ad spend limits and end up wasting it all because one keyword has a high bid range of $100.

Don’t jump at every keyword with a low bid range. Always check the high bid range as well.

Step 3: Set Keyword Match Types

Selecting keywords for your campaign isn’t enough to target an audience. HOW those keywords appear matters just as much as, if not more than, the keywords themselves.

Take this ad for Lawyers.com, or example:

They’re using the keyword “lawyer,” but they’re also using an exact phrase match to appear for the search query “how to find the right lawyer for my case.”

Not setting a match type would have caused their ad to show up for nearly every search query with the term “lawyer,” and it would have blown their budget in no time.

So, what are keyword match types?

Keyword match types are the variations of your keywords and how they appear in search queries.

There are four keyword match types:

  1. Broad match. Your ads appear for extensive searches, including misspellings, synonyms, and related searches.
  2. Broad match modified. Your ads appear for variations of your keywords or keyword phrases. (ex. “law firms San Diego” will also appear for the search “what are the best law firms around San Diego”)
  3. Phrase match. The search will match your keyword phrase but may appear for variations, especially if there are words before or after the phrase.
  4. Exact match. Your ad will only appear if the search matches your keyword phrase, or is at least very close to it

Setting up the right keyword match makes a huge difference in how your ad appears in a search and significantly impacts its relevance to a searcher’s query.

Match your goals, and the type of campaign you’re running, to a match type that posits the most relevant results for your searchers.

That’s the key here.

Step 4: Set negative keywords

As mentioned above, negative keywords are the keywords you don’t want your ad to show up for.

Setting a negative keyword list for an ad campaign ensures that you’re not wasting your budget on prospects that aren’t interested in what you’re offering or cases that you don’t work with.

For instance, a personal injury law firm only works with car accident victims and never works on worker’s compensation cases. Excluding keywords like “workers compensation” and “workers comp” would keep the ad out of the prospect’s searches.

Again, the key is relevancy.

Your ad should be as relevant as possible, and negative keywords are just another tool to achieve that.

Step 5: Create ad groups.

Organizing your keywords into ad groups, usually in a spreadsheet, helps keep track of your campaign’s progress.

Grouping your keywords is also a method of narrowing your campaign to relevancy. Early, you selected 15-20 keywords. Now, you’ve broken those keywords into groups that are most related to each other.

The spreadsheet should look something like this:

Looking at your campaigns in this format also ensures you have all of the components of a great campaign: match type, keywords, description, negative keywords, and budget.

Step 6: Build the PPC ads.

All PPC ads have the same basic structure: campaign> keywords> ad groups. The ad groups are the actual ads, including the keywords, the match type, etc.

Setting these ads up will look different depending on the ad network you’re using, but it generally boils down to the same few steps:

  1. Choose your campaign type – In this case, it’s search; an
  2. Set a campaign goal, such as leads
  3. Select mode of lead generation: phone number, landing page
  4. Add campaign settings (all of the information determined in previous steps)
  5. Add targeting settings
  6. Set budget limits
  7. Publish

Once you’ve done all the planning, setting the campaign up is generally a breeze.

Of course, there is one last thing you want to take into account before diving into any PPC ad campaign — the ad network.

Main Types of PPC Ads Networks

An ad network is a broker between the business that wants to run an ad and the companies or websites willing to run the ads. They appeared first in the ‘90s — when online advertising emerged — to help advertisers find ad space.

In 1993, the first clickable banner went live, after which HotWired purchased a few banner ads for their advertising,” says Simplilearn.

Without ad networks, advertisers would have to negotiate deals with every advertiser. That’s a lot of negotiating. It would have made it nearly impossible to scale a campaign.

Today, they serve the same purpose.

The networks negotiate the terms once, and the advertiser sets parameters such as budget and targeting to help guide the network to the right match.

There are several different subcategories of ad networks, but there are only three main types:

  1. Brand. An ad network made up of recognizable brands. This type of ad network is most helpful if you’re trying to associate your brand with a particular kind of product and what they represent — like a health food product on a health food website.
  2. Performance. These ad networks are focused more on the performance of the ads themselves. They generally have a massive inventory of sites for ad placements. Google Adsense falls into this category.
  3. Remnant. Remnant; your network is more like a stopgap measure. It’s the network that sells the overstock or everything left over after the brand network has sold a certain amount of your inventory.

As a law firm, of course, you don’t have inventory. You’re promoting a service.

For that reason alone, you need only focus on finding the best performing ad network for your law firm

PPC Pricing Options & Matching Ad Networks

There are a few different ways of paying for PPC ads, but some ad networks only offer one or the other.

Knowing your spend options first will help you narrow down the ad network that’s right for your law firm.

Cost-per-mille (CPM)

Advertisers pay a set price for every 1,000 impressions rather than per single impression, click, or conversion.

An impression is every time the ad appears in someone’s browser. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the user clicks on the ad or not. You’re still charged for its appearance.

It’s often considered the simplest ad delivery option, but one that will eat through your budget without ROI.

If you’re not targeting your audience correctly, this is your worst option.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

Cost per click is primarily used in performance ad networks. Essentially, you, the advertiser, would only pay for every instance that someone clicks on your ad.

Notice that this doesn’t mean the user is converted. It just means your headline caught them, and they wanted to find out more.

It’s a low-risk option, but you won’t always know how the ad will be served, and the pricing depends entirely on how much the advertisers are willing to bid for a single click.

Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)

In a cost-per-acquisition arrangement, advertisers only pay when a user converts. That is, they’ve submitted a form, signed up, or made a purchase.

Since actual acquisition is THE metric for assessing ROI, CPA is often the preferred ad delivery option.

It can genuinely maximize your conversions, but the bids may be higher than the other options.

Selecting an Ad Network for its Targeting Methods

Pricing and positioning are not the only differences between ad networks. Their targeting methods matter just as much. If you want your PPC ads to perform well, this is one of the most significant factors to watch out for.

Each network has its own method of selecting ad locations – how they target users. Some may even offer more than one as a feature.

Here are your options:

Retargeting

When you visit a website and then leave to visit another, but you still see an ad for the site you’d left, that’s retargeting.

It puts you back in front of the clients that have left your site.

Believe it or not, conversion rates for retargeted ads are double what a standard ad brings in.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting takes the user into account, advertising to them based on the content they consume

It is a pretty simple system in which the aggregator labels the websites within its database and matches them with keywords.

When the advertiser uses those keywords in their ad, it automatically matches the ad with those site

Less common targeting methods

Contextual targeting is the most common method of targeting. It’s what Google uses. Retargeting is also a popular method or feature offered by several ad networks.

However, you should be aware of a few others, in case that’s the ad network’s sole method of targeting.

  • Placement targeting – The advertiser chooses where their ads appear.
  • Interest categories – Targeting is based on the user’s interests and the content they consume.
  • Topic targeting – The network links the ads to specific topics and the sites that cover those topics.
  • Geographic and language targeting – If you want to choose a specific region, down to a single zip code, make sure the ad network has this feature.
  • Demographic targeting – Targeting based on age and gender.

Ad networks like Google offer a few different targeting methods, while others only provide one.

For better conversions, make sure the targeting methods offered by your ad network match your campaign goals.

The Best Ad Networks for Law Firm PPC

Most businesses simply go straight to Google Adwords for their PPC campaigns, but Google isn’t the only ad network out there.

If you know your audience, where they hang out, and where they look for your services, you might discover that there are even better ad networks out there.

Below are some of the best ad networks for law firms.

Google Display Network

Over 1.5 million businesses advertise using Google Adwords, and it’s no secret why.

Their network is massive and includes everything from small, new blogs to The New York Times.

For small businesses and solo law firms, this means you’re able to get placements as good as any big firm. But the benefits don’t stop there.

Google Display Network also offers several targeting options and makes setting up campaigns truly simple.

Leadbolt

Leadbolt was originally a CPA network but has since transformed into a mobile ad network.

Although mobile web traffic in 2020 dropped a few percentage points from nearly 50%, it might see a spike this year. So Leadbolt might be an excellent option for your firm.

But this depends entirely on your audience.

During the “understanding your audience” phase of your campaign development, you should have determined how your audience searches for services like yours.

If you’ve found that the majority are reaching your law firm website via mobile, this may indicate that you should concentrate on mobile advertising.

One major benefit of Leadbolt is that it offers self-serve and full-service options, as well as real-time bidding.

Exponential

Most people outside of the PPC world haven’t heard of Exponential, but it is a vast network that connects with 600 million users daily.

If that’s not big enough, consider that they offer several targeting options.

All ads placed in Exponential also perform with a consistent experience across various devices.

Taboola

Taboola is a reasonably well-known entity in the marketing world, not just among advertisers.

They’re also known for their content publishing.

Essentially, they offer to push articles the same way they do ads. Their ads network is impressive, reaching 1.5 billion users across web and desktop devices.

Ads through their network appear on sites like The Motley Fool and Netflix.

RevContent

RevContent has 250 billion ad impressions each month. That’s quite impressive.

It’s also one of the most affordable PPC options and offers CPM, CPC, and CPA, so you can select the option that works best for each campaign.

Even better, there are 3,000 targeting options, which is 2,200 more than Facebook offers.

Picking An Ad Network: Key Takeaways

  • The right ad network can make or break your PPC conversions. 
  • Each network services certain sites, and if your audience doesn’t engage with those websites, you’ll end up blowing your budget without any return.
  • PPC success depends entirely on relevancy and proper placement.
  • Use keywords that your audience uses when they’re searching for you.
  • Set your campaigns up correctly, with the proper targeting settings.

Choose the right ad network for your audience. Your marketing budget will thank you for it.